Updated: Jan 20
Ahhh cake smashes are one of my FAVOURITE types of sessions! One year olds are adorable, curious and their little personalities are just really starting to shine! Each cake smash is different, as all babies are different! At one year old, some are walking, some are crawling, some are teething, some are RUNNING, haha! Here are some notes I have compiled over the years about ensuring a smooth, enjoyable cake smash experience for your little one (and you!)
1. PLAY. I start our session with some clean portraits, which is also a great opportunity for your little one to settle into the studio, become comfortable with me, and also have a couple of family snaps, if you want them. This is great for two reasons: it gives you some more classic portraits before they get covered in mess, but it also allows them to feel comfortable for the rest of the shoot.
2. SENSORY OVERLOAD. Just like children and grown ups, one year olds have their own sensory preferences. Some babies love the messy texture of a cake, and some really don't. Be patient with your baby, especially if this is their first time having cake, and enjoy seeing their unique reaction to the experience! We will get cute photos no matter what.
3. CAKE MATTERS. The type of cake that you bring will affect the amount of mess, and your baby's willingness to play in it. If you had refridgerated your cake, please take it out of the fridge to get to room temperature before we serve it to your baby at the session. Cold cake and hard icing is NOT fun for babies, it's hard to break through, and it makes minimal mess. The best type of cake for this shoot is soft sponge & buttercream. It is completely up to you what type of cake that you bring - I do not provide the cakes due to different allergies and dietary requirements. People have brought carrot cake, gluten free cake, professionally made cakes, homemade cakes, store bought cakes - they all do the job! AVOID: * Please avoid bringing vegetable shortening in cakes and icing, as it hurts my backdrops. * I also avoid large fondant decorations, as they can be distracting to a baby and stop them from trying the cake, can be a choking hazard, and also dribble unflattering food colouring on baby's face. If you'd like to include fondant toppers, we may need to take them off after a little bit, to help baby get into the cake. * Avoid anything that your baby cannot chew or swallow. * Avoid black, red and brown icing. You can guess why. Haha!! These colours don't look great all over a baby's face ;) * Avoid bringing a cake with ingredients your baby has not had before and could be allergic to, eg, eggs. If your little one can't have cake, we can do something different, like watermelon! Personalised cake toppers are so cute! However please be sure that you don't bring a very special one that you are hoping to use again for their party, as I can't tell you how many times a special cake topper has been quickly snapped by a curious bub, much to their parents dismay. It happens, so if you're bringing one, just be prepared for that! :D
4. SPLASH! Sit nearby your little one during this portion of the session, where I will pop a warm bubbly bath down for your little one to get clean, but also just have fun! This is the cutest, and most babies LOVE this part of the shoot! Stay close by, bring a swim nappy if you want to, and let me know if your bub has any sensitivity to bubble bath, to ensure a safe and happy bubble bath.
5. BRING A TOWEL, A BAG AND A CHANGE OF CLOTHES. You little one might make a little mess, or a huge one! Let's be prepared for either. Remember your plastic/wet bag for the messy clothes, and a towel for getting dry after the bubble bath. I do have little outfits in the studio that you can use if you'd like to avoid getting one of yours messy. 6. TAKE A VIDEO. Yes, you absolutely can (and when I remember, I'll recommend!) that you take a video on your phone of your little one smashing their cake!! I love capturing the adorable still photos but often wish I could just record it, because watching them get into their cake is SUPER cute! (Just let me know you've got your video on so I don't make too many silly sounds in your recording ;P)
7. DO THE SHOOT IN ADVANCE, OR ON/NEAR THEIR SPECIAL DAY. This is totally up to you! If you would like your photos to be ready before their birthday or party, it's best to book in a couple weeks in advance of when they're needed, to allow me time to edit and deliver your photos. If you would like to make the cake smash a part of their special day celebrations, I am happy to try to get you in on their actual birthday! Just give me plenty of notice to ensure I have the date free.
8. BE PREPARED FOR A LITTLE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY. Okay, I always forget to mention this to parents, so it's important to note here... First birthday shoots entail a lot of setting the baby down, having them run/crawl away, and then putting them back. Like, over and over again. Haha! Once the cake is down they usually stay in one spot for a little bit, but not all babies, and that is totally okay. I do not expect your baby to sit in one place for the entire shoot - that's unrealistic and not likely to happen! I'm not stressed, so you don't need to be either! Just be ready to jump in and put them back a few times, haha!
9. WHEN THEY'RE DONE, THEY'RE DONE. I've been reading babies for many years, and when they're done, they are done. I don't want tears on a cake smash day, so if there are, it'll be time for a cuddle, a distraction, or the next thing. Whether that's the bubble bath, or the end of the shoot. You will be surprised how many great photos you will receive in a short amount of time. I will not drag your session on forever, coz that's not realistic either! Some babies have been finished with a perfect, happy gallery in half an hour, and some need a full hour - each are different and my goal is to get everything we need without anyone getting upset or over it too quickly. 10. RELAX AND HAVE FUN! This is a celebration! You all made it through the first year! They're thriving and adorable! Don't stress about the 'perfect shoot' or what your baby will do, and just enjoy watching your cutie! Other Notes: Your cake smash gallery with me will include a mix of full length photos, close ups, details, etc, as I think these are really important to remember. I have many themes available to choose from, and can provide an outfit for you if you'd like to avoid getting one of yours messy! Book your session for AFTER a nap and after food, as no one's happy when they're tired or hangry! Don't stress about the little bumps and scratches that nearly all one year olds have when they come to visit me - that 'learning to walk' business can be tricky! I will retouch any little temporary things! Looking forward to seeing you for your cake smash soon!